Emma was introduced as the presumed-dead wife of I.S.A. agent Shane Donovan. Years earlier, Emma had been caught in an explosion meant for Shane...at least, that's what Shane had always thought. He was shocked when Nickerson informed him that Emma really died because she was a distant relation to the British royal family, and that The Dragon was killing off all those who could possibly be in line for the throne.
When Shane and Kimberly headed to London, they discovered that Emma was really alive and well. Unfortunately, she had also been brainwashed by The Dragon. In his first assignment, he nearly had her murder Lady Johanna, even though Emma tried desperately to warn the woman. His next assignment for her hit closer to home...she was to kill Bo and Hope at their wedding! Luckily Shane was able to stop her in time.
With Emma back in the picture, Kim returned to Salem, leaving Shane and Emma together to remember their marriage. The two returned to Salem, where Emma moved in with Shane, but had horrible nightmares. Shane convinced her to go to Marlena, but that wouldn't help her. The Dragon was also in Salem. While visiting Bo and Hope one day, Emma happened to hear the tune 'God Save the Queen', which was the Dragon's trigger for her to shoot Bo and Hope. Luckily they realized the music box was the trigger, and were able to stop Emma just in time. Marlena said that Emma would be fine, especially once they learned that The Dragon was dead.
When Marlena realized there were drugs in Emma's system, she did her best to convince Richard Cates not to arrest her, as it wasn't her fault. Shane and Emma house hunted, but they were not trying to rekindle their marriage as Emma hoped. Shane begged Kim for another chance, but she didn't want anything to do with him (at the time, Kim was blind and hiding it). Emma eventually learned that Kim was blind and hiding it, but she was determined not to give up her husband. She continued her best to seduce him, despite his obvious love for Kim.
Desperate to keep her husband, Emma tried to convince him to return to England and take a job he was offered with Scotland Yard, but he was not willing to give up on Kim just yet. A furious Emma confronted Kim, then stole the cameo Shane gave her, throwing it out the window. While a blind Kim searched desperately, Emma pocketed the cameo and left. She even gave a special firehouse picture that Kim had purchased for Shane to the auction, and was furious when, after the auction, she heard Shane vow his undying love to Kimberly. She swore there was no way her husband would leave her.
Once Emma realized that Victor Kiriakis was interested in Kim, she tried to push the two together. With her cousin Felicity York, she set up Anna Fredericks, Alex Marshall, and Robert Brennan for the murder of Claus Van Zandt, as well as his wife, Tracey (luckily for them, Claus later turned up alive). Plus, she knew she needed to marry an American to stay in the States. The day of the big race, Emma set a bomb up in the Curtis stables, and it was a blind Kimberly who was caught in the barn fire. Although she proposed to Larry, it was Alex Marshall that Emma ended up marrying.
Even though she had married Alex, Emma wasn't ready to give up on Shane. When Kim learned she was pregnant, Emma changed the results of the amnio to make it seem like Victor was the father. Her plan was for Kim to get abortion. When that didn't work, Emma stayed close by, making sure Victor knew about Kim's pregnancy. When they did another blood test later, Emma again switched the results to make sure that Victor was the father.
With all her efforts, Shane and Kim seemed happy together, so Emma did the unthinkable...after presenting Kim with some documents she said were for the abuse clinic, she tricked her into signing an adoption agreement for her baby, and dressed as a nurse, took Andrew from the hospital, relinquishing him to one Dr. Dennison. Although she was arrested and charged with the crime, there was no real evidence against her. Even when Shane attempted to use truth serum on her, she talked only about the child at the Donovan manor, which resulted in her being sent to a sanitarium.
Emma was eventually released, but remained under suspicion as Shane continued to close in on her. On New Year's Eve she headed over to Neil Curtis' New Year's Eve party, and threatened to reveal all of Victor Kiriakis' deep dark secrets. It wasn't long before her dead body was found. It was later learned that Gillian Forrester, Shane's I.S.A. partner, was the culprit.